New poll: Arizonans want open, nonpartisan primaries

August 23, 2010

Arizonans go to the polls Tuesday to cast ballots in the primary election, but an overwhelming percentage of state voters believe the time has come for both open and nonpartisan primaries, according to a new poll.
A recent survey conducted on behalf of Morrison Institute for Public Policy and Arizona Indicators, a collaborative online data project, measured how voters felt about a number of issues, including Arizona’s primary system.
Results showed that three-quarters of Arizona voters favor a primary election in which the two candidates, regardless of party affiliation, who receive the largest number of votes face off in the general election. This change is favored across party lines and among all age groups.
“This survey shows there is significant dissatisfaction with at least some parts of Arizona’s current primary election process,” said David Daugherty, director of research at Morrison Institute.

More than six in 10 Arizona voters prefer open primaries with all candidates listed on the ballot but without party designation. Independents were most likely to prefer such a primary (71 percent), with Democrats the least favorable to the change (54 percent). Download Full Image

Presently, Arizona holds semi-open/closed party primaries. Republican voters are restricted to the Republican ballot, and Democrats are limited to the Democratic ballot. Candidates are divided by political affiliation, with the candidates receiving the most votes from their respective party facing off in the November general election.

Independents (those not aligned with or identified as a member of a major political party) can vote in Arizona primaries, however, only on a single ballot, such as either the Republican or Democrat contest.

Many independents find Arizona’s primary rules confusing and opt to miss the primary even though most of Arizona’s legislative districts are considered “safe districts,” meaning the primary often essentially determines the winner since the districts are either heavily Republican or heavily Democratic in voter registration.

According to the Arizona Indicators Panel survey, 86 percent of voters said Arizona should have an outright open primary, where anyone can vote for any candidate, regardless of political party. This change is favored by large majorities of all age groups and all political affiliations.

Findings in the survey are a statewide representative sample based on the responses of 614 Arizonans from July 16 through Aug. 6, as part of the Arizona Indicators Panel.

The survey was conducted using the web-enabled KnowledgePanel®, a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population.

Media contact:
Joseph">">Joseph Garcia
Senior Communications Specialist
Morrison Institute for Public Policy

Britt Lewis

Communications Specialist, ASU Library

Mahajan lauded as leading materials engineer

August 24, 2010

One of the highest honors in materials science and engineering has been awarded to Arizona State University engineering professor Subhash Mahajan.

ASM International, one of the leading professional societies in the field, will present Mahajan the ASM Gold Medal at the Materials Science and Technology Conference and Exposition next year in Columbus, Ohio. Download Full Image

The award recognizes outstanding knowledge and versatility in the application of science to the field of materials science and engineering, and exceptional ability in the diagnosis and solution of materials problems.

Mahajan is a Technical Fellow in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. He’s a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and a Regents’ Professor – the highest title given to faculty at Arizona’s state universities.

“Dr. Mahajan is one of our most accomplished engineering faculty members, being the first elected to the NAE while on the faculty at ASU,” said Deidre Meldrum dean of the engineering schools. “He provides outstanding technical expertise, leadership and mentorship to both our faculty and students. The ASM Gold Medal award is another well-deserved testament Mahajan’s success in the field of functional materials.” 

Specifically, Mahajan is being recognized for outstanding contributions to structure-property relations in functional materials.

This area involves work with semiconductors, magnetic materials and superconducting materials.

He is among the world’s leading experts in the field. Early in his career he performed research on materials deformation behavior of solids, making seminal contributions to the phenomenon of deformation twinning.

Later, Mahajan brought that knowledge to research on functional materials. His studies on materials for light-wave communication devices, magnetic materials for switches and telephony, lack of ductility in vanadium silicide and group III nitrides, have been recognized for their elegance and simplicity.

His achievements have earned him invitations to present lectures throughout the world, and positions on the advisory committees of numerous materials science and engineering departments. 

Mahajan’s career has included working with the Atomic Energy Research Establishment in England and AT&T Bell Labs in United States. He has held academic positions in Germany, Belgium and France, and with Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, before coming to ASU in 1997, where in 2000 he became chair of what was then the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering. In 2006, he became the founding director of the former School of Materials, the position he relinquished in 2009 to assume his current position.

As Technical Fellow he helps lead efforts to recruit high-caliber engineering faculty for ASU and mentor junior faculty members. He also continues to conduct materials research – specifically in studies of nitrides.

ASM International’s 36,000 members worldwide include engineers working in nanotechnology, manufacturing, materials for medical devices, energy technologies, and aerospace, automotive and homeland security technologies, among others.

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering